Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Introducing Firebird Promotions - Part One: The "Why"

This is the official entry of Firebird Promotions into the blogosphere. Hi there - we're pleased to meet you.

Firebird Promotions is a new Community Interest Company based in Bristol, and it seems to make sense to start at the beginning, and explain why we have embarked upon this adventure.

I'm Jess, one of the Directors of Firebird, and I first had the idea of this project right back in 2005.  Between 2005 and 2009 and it was just a thought in my brain that I was too frightened to share, then in 2009 it was known as The Masterplan, and in 2010 I decided it was time to make it a reality.

My background has been in two distinct worlds; the land of festivals, events and parties, and the land of what can broadly be termed as 'arts for development' projects.  Arts for development refers to any project using the arts in one way or another to bring about positive change, whether for one person or for a whole society, and it is something that has happened throughout the whole of human history.  

The project that first inspired me to get involved in this slightly obscure line of work was called Adugna. Based in Ethiopa, 18 street children were trained to be professional dancers over a period of 5 years.  Many of the Adugna dancers are now internationally renowned in their art, respected as artists, and they have helped to change the view that people have of Addis Ababa's street children.  It still blows me away.

I have been lucky enough to learn about this not just by reading about the amazing work that has gone on in this sector across the world, but also by actually getting to participate in some of these inspirational projects - for this I am immensely grateful.  I have been part of a project that uses mobile phones to give young people a voice through film and another that uses dance to raise the profile of disabled people in Cambodia, and been involved in countless others.  

Throughout this journey I have seen incredible art that has changed my perceptions and my preconceptions and that has moved me in a very real way.  From beautiful dance performed by a group of profoundly deaf individuals to powerful music written by prison inmates and films from refugee camps that have shaken the foundations of my views: This work is as good as anything I've seen in the 'mainstream' but for some reason, it lives in the margins.

And so our mission at Firebird is to bring this work to the centre, for audiences at festivals, events and online to benefit from being able to access these artists and witness their talents.  

I'll talk you through The "How" tomorrow, but I hope that explains The "Why". 

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